The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets, despite being division rivals, apparently aren’t opposed to making trades together. The Phillies acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera from the New York Mets Friday for RHP Franklyn Kilome, who MLB Pipeline now says is the Mets No. 5 overall prospect. Apparently, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has inquired on a second trade with the Mets, one that would be of a bigger magnitude.
According to Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports, the Phillies have shown interest in Mets RHP Zack Wheeler:
Phillies, Braves, Brewers and Yankees are among teams to have shown the most interest in Zack Wheeler. 2 division rivals, the ny rival and milw. In any case, no one has met the asking price. If nothing changes, may well stay in queens.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 30, 2018
Once acquired at the non-waiver trade deadline in return for Carlos Beltran, Wheeler is currently 5-6 with a 4.11 ERA, a 3.57 FIP and a 2.3 fWAR. However, since posting a 6.43 ERA in May, Wheeler has been excellent. The 28-year-old has a 3.20 ERA in 70.1 innings since the start of June.
Wheeler has one more year of arbitration eligibility in 2019, so he can’t become a free-agent until after next season. Still, if the Mets are asking for a rather large return for Wheeler, him only being under contract for one more season doesn’t make that asking-price more likely to be met. By comparison, Tampa Bay Rays RHP Chris Archer is under contract through 2019, but his deal also includes $8.25 million club options for 2020 and 2021 that will almost certainly be exercised.
The Mets would likely want to pry one of two names from the Phillies in a package for Wheeler: Zach Eflin or Nick Pivetta. Despite coming back down to Earth a bit, Eflin is still 7-3 with a 3.64 ERA and 3.76 FIP. Propelled by two healthy knees and a velocity increase, Eflin is under team control through 2022 and probably not going to be moved. Meanwhile, while Pivetta has struggled mightily since the start of June, he was quite good the first two months of the season. Two starts against the Baltimore Orioles and one against the St. Louis Cardinals show how effective the 25-year-old can be when his breaking pitches are on. Even through all of his recent struggles, Pivetta has a 3.61 FIP, not far off from the 3.57 FIP of Wheeler. Pivetta also can’t become a free-agent until after 2023, so the Phillies would be unlikely to part with him.
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